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Minerva Cuevas’ New Exhibition: Visualizing the Climate Crisis

  • Craig Miller
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  • March 23, 2023
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  • 4 minute read
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Minerva Cuevas, a Mexico City-based artist, is taking a unique approach to visualizing the climate crisis in her latest exhibition, “in gods we trust,” held at Kurimanzutto’s New York outpost.

Cuevas has a history of using her art to draw attention to global and local issues, such as food shortages, capitalism, fair labor practices, and climate change.

Shifting away from clichéd imagery such as graphs and starving polar bears, Cuevas insists on representing the companies responsible for causing climate change, including oil companies like Shell and financial institutions like Chase Bank.

Uncovering the Roots of Climate Change through Art

The exhibition features a series of appropriated works that display ads from the oil and gas industry in the 1950s and 1960s.

One such work showcases Mobil oil flowing down a snow-banked stream, while another promotes Shell’s new “recipe” for asphalt.

By revealing these historical ads, Cuevas aims to expose the oil companies’ decades-long denial of the link between fossil fuel combustion and climate change.

Cuevas’ art-making process is grounded in intense research, and her works often incorporate symbols of the oil industry within her local context of Mexico.

She explores the connection between ancient art practices that utilized tar and the current oil industry in Mexico, highlighting climate change as not just a global issue but an act of pollution that affects a country’s past, present, and future.

The Role of Artists in Times of Crisis

While discussing her work and the role of artists in times of crisis, Cuevas emphasizes the need for political and ethical responsibility among artists.

She believes that although no single artwork or book can transform society, art and culture have the potential to generate change, albeit in an immeasurable way.

Cuevas has a history of using her art to draw attention to global and local issues, such as food shortages, capitalism, fair labor practices, and climate change.

Her art often takes the form of small interventions that challenge larger systems, empowering people and creating a sense of freedom through action.

The artist’s commitment to social change through her work is evident in her previous projects, such as Del Montte—Bananeras (2003/10), where she altered the Fresh Del Monte Produce brand’s spelling to reference the Guatemalan military president, José Efraín Ríos Montt, responsible for the genocide of the indigenous Ixil group.

Cuevas uses recognizable logos to point out the corrupt practices of corporations, further emphasizing the connection between art and social change.

The “in gods we trust” exhibition is on view until April 15, offering visitors a chance to engage with Cuevas’ thought-provoking art and consider the role of corporations in perpetuating the climate crisis.

More About Cuevas

Minerva Cuevas is a contemporary artist born in 1975 in Mexico City. Throughout her career, she has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including solo shows and biennials.

One of Cuevas’ most notable projects is the ongoing non-profit Mejor Vida Corp (Better Life Corporation), which she describes as a “cartography of resistance.”

This project includes various actions, such as giving away subway tickets, student I.D. cards, or altering barcodes at grocery stores, to create a sense of freedom and empower people to challenge bureaucratic systems.

Cuevas’ art is rooted in thorough research and a deep understanding of the issues she addresses.

By using a variety of mediums and techniques, she creates thought-provoking works that encourage viewers to consider the impact of larger systems on society and the environment.

Article In a Snapshot

  • Minerva Cuevas’ latest exhibition, “in gods we trust,” aims to visualize the climate crisis by representing the companies responsible for causing it, including oil companies and financial institutions.
  • The exhibition features appropriated works that display ads from the oil and gas industry in the 1950s and 1960s, highlighting the companies’ decades-long denial of the link between fossil fuel combustion and climate change.
  • Cuevas’ art-making process is grounded in intense research and often incorporates symbols of the oil industry within her local context of Mexico to emphasize the connection between ancient art practices and the current oil industry.
  • She believes that artists have a responsibility to address political and ethical issues, and that art and culture have the potential to generate change, albeit in an immeasurable way.
  • The “in gods we trust” exhibition is on view until April 15, inviting visitors to engage with Cuevas’ thought-provoking art and consider the role of corporations in perpetuating the climate crisis.
Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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